Taylor Leier, the Flyers' newest forward, is fast, plays with an edge, and reminds Pierre-Edouard Bellemare of the team's other rookie left winger, Travis Konecny.
Bellemare knew Leier was speedy and skilled, "but the thing that surprised me about him last year was that I was not expecting him to be so strong on the puck," he said before centering the 5-foot-11, 177-pound Leier and Dale Weise on Tuesday against visiting Florida. "He's not that big, but he's really strong in the corners. He goes in the corners with a big defenseman and he comes out with the puck."
"Exactly," said Bellemare when asked if he thought Leier had the same traits as the 5-10, 184-pound Konecny. "Size doesn't really matter if you come with so much speed in the corners, and that's what those two guys do. They come with so much speed and they create heaviness with that."
Leier, 22, was promoted from the AHL's Phantoms and played his first game this season with the Flyers on Tuesday. He was in six games with the big team last year, including one on Bellemare's line.
"I like the way he plays," Bellemare said.
Leier, who was also slated to be used on the penalty kill, said his stint with the Flyers last season helped his comfort level. "Just being around the guys for a couple weeks last year makes things that much easier for me," he said.
On Tuesday, he replaced the injured Matt Read, a third-line winger and penalty-killer who is expected to miss about a month.
"I'm not taking anything for granted. Just taking it day by day and controlling things I can control," said Leier, who had three stitches under his right eye from an inadvertent high stick from Phantoms teammate Corban Knight on Saturday.
A fourth-round pick in the 2012 draft, Leier had 20 points (six goals, 14 assists) in 22 games this season with Lehigh Valley, which is having an excellent season.
"We have three or four lines that could potentially be first lines on other teams," Leier said of the Phantoms. "Our motto is, 'We're going to come at you in waves.' "
Coach Dave Hakstol called Leier a solid two-way player and a "very good penalty killer."